Cajun Roasted Turkey Recipe

Cajun Roasted Turkey Recipe

Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate tradition, eat great food and create lifelong memories. One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories is the Myth of the Second Turkey.

As reliable as the presidential turkey pardon, every Thanksgiving, as each fully-satiated, stuffed-to-the-gill family member began showing signs of a Tryptophan coma, my Dad would sarcastically question my Mother, “Should we bring out the second turkey?”

Me and my Dad

Of course, there was no Second Turkey waiting in the wings. It was a humorous nod to our gluttonous holiday tradition. The call for the Second Turkey marked the end of Thanksgiving dinner, like the fat lady singing.

As new Thanksgiving memories and traditions are made, especially in a world with more food bloggers than Black Friday sales, the Second Turkey may not be such a myth after all.

For one, Alton Brown suggests cooking turkeys that are fifteen pounds or less because longer cooking times required for larger turkeys can create a dry bird. If you have a big family — or even a small family with big appetites — you’re going to need more than one fifteen pounder!

For another, with the first turkey earmarked for traditional flavor profiles, the Second Turkey provides a blank canvas on which creative home cooks can push the flavor profile envelope. Don’t get me wrong, I love traditional Thanksgiving preparations. But that doesn’t mean I can’t give in to a little culinary promiscuity. And besides, what is Thanksgiving without leftovers?

So this one’s for you, Dad. Bring on the Second Turkey!

Cajun Roasted Turkey Recipe

Ingredients for Cajun Spice Rub:
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

Ingredients for Turkey Cavity Filling:
1 crisp apple
1 jalapeno pepper
1 green onion
3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon Cajun Spice Rub
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Ingredients for Turkey Base:
1 medium carrot
1 rib celery
1/2 medium onion

Other Ingredients:
2 TBSP melted butter
1 teaspoon olive or canola oil

Cajun Roasted Turkey Recipe
This recipe is for an 8-10 pound turkey. Follow package instruction for thawing if frozen, usually 48 hours in refrigerator. Cajun Spice Rub makes about 3 TBSP. For a larger bird, double or triple the Cajun Spice Rub. Consider serving with Sweet and Spicy Cornbread Dressing.

Cajun Roasted Turkey Recipe
1) Remove turkey from packaging.
2) Locate and set aside neck and giblets package from inside the turkey cavity.
3) Rinse turkey with cold water and completely pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
4) Roughly chop carrot, onion and celery for turkey base.
5) Arrange vegetables in the bottom of roasting pan.
6) Place turkey on top of vegetables, breast side up.

Cajun Roasted Turkey Recipe
1) Cut apple into large pieces, seed and cut jalapeno into strips, dice green onion and halve garlic cloves.
2) Add one teaspoon oil to saute pan over medium heat and add all ingredients.
3) Toss to coat and saute just until fragrant and tender, about 5 minutes.
4) With tongs, remove ingredients from pan and insert most of the mixture into body cavity and a small amount into neck cavity.
5) Tuck wings under turkey to secure neck flap.
6) Tie legs together with butcher string.

Cajun Roasted Turkey Recipe
1) Combine all ingredients for Cajun Spice Rub in a clean, dry bowl and set aside.
2) Melt butter and brush all exposed area of the turkey.
3) Generously coat turkey with spice rub mixture.

Cajun Roasted Turkey Recipe
1) Place seasoned, filled turkey into a preheated 325(F) oven for 2.5 hours or about 15 minutes per pound.
2) Turkey is done when thermometer inserted into the meatiest part of the thigh reads 170(F). Take care not to touch the bone with thermometer, as this temperature will read higher than the meat itself.
3) Allow bird to rest 10 minutes or more before carving.
4) A spicy gravy can be made with roasting pan juices.

Serve with Sweet and Spicy Cornbread Dressing Recipe
Serve with Sweet and Spicy Cornbread Dressing.

Serve with Sweet and Spicy Cornbread Dressing Recipe

This post is sponsored by Safeway stores-Safeway, Dominicks, Tom Thumb, Vons, Randalls. Tastier for the holidays!

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23 Responses to “Cajun Roasted Turkey Recipe”

  1. Alice
    11/16/2012 at 10:08 am #

    Haha my family always makes two turkeys! We’ve never done the cajun spice though. It looks yum! We may just go cajun this year, and I’m putting that cornbread stuffing in the bird! Thanks

  2. Average Betty
    11/16/2012 at 10:39 am #

    Hi Alice!

    I’m so happy to hear The Second Turkey isn’t a myth in ALL families! :)
    And if you put the stuffing in the bird — I’d love to know your results!

    Thank you :)

  3. Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator
    11/17/2012 at 10:21 am #

    I remember one Thanksgiving we had a second turkey sort of by accident. It was freezing cold in Chicago and there was one turkey in the oven and a second on the grill. Our host’s mom worked for a large local grocery store (in fact, very possibly Safeway) and had received a turkey from them as a gift. It was so cold that the turkey on the grill took forever to cook… forever. So long, that we had eaten turkey #1, the sides, the desserts, played games. We were stuffed, ready to be rolled out to our cars. It was nearly 9 pm. The second turkey was ready. As my friend carried it into the house, that smell of smoky meat began to pervade the house. Within five minutes, all these completely full people were standing around the grilled turkey, cavemen again, pulling pieces of meat and crispy skin off the bird.

    This combination of spices looks delicious! Thanks for the memory. :)

  4. Jeanne @JollyTomato
    11/17/2012 at 10:24 am #

    Brilliant! I wish I’d thought of the “second turkey” sooner. At our family table we have a war (well, not really a war, more like a friendly disagreement) between the traditionalists and the folks who want to bust out a new recipe each year. A second turkey is the perfect solution – and that Cajun roasted turkey looks AMAZING!

  5. Valentina
    11/17/2012 at 10:45 am #

    YUM! That Cajun rub looks amazing! Please bring ME your leftover turkey! ;-)

  6. Average Betty
    11/17/2012 at 11:01 am #

    I love your story… isn’t it funny how mishaps can turn out to be the most fun? Especially when you are around the people you love.

    Thanks, Jeanne!
    I’m usually not at the drivers seat on Thanksgiving, but when the torch does get passed to me — I’m making two for sure :)

    I will trade you some of my turkey for some of your Red Wine Braised Chestnuts and Pearl Onions (recipe here y’all: )

    Happy Thanksgiving, ladies!!

  7. Erika {In Erika's Kitchen}
    11/17/2012 at 11:16 am #

    I always make a second turkey! Well, a turkey breast, anyway…we like LOTS of leftovers. :)

  8. Average Betty
    11/17/2012 at 12:46 pm #

    You know what, Erika? My Mom started ONLY preparing a turkey breast because we were a family that all wanted breast meat… And Thanksgiving leftovers are all a part of the holiday tradition. Thanks a million for dropping by! xoxo

  9. Patti at Worth The Whisk
    11/17/2012 at 2:52 pm #

    Sara, a second turkey just started in our family once the second generation started having kids. We are THAT family that literally starts to fill doggie bags within minutes of the last bite of pie, with plenty of hand-slapping for the turkey remains. And I am digging this cajun rub idea, seriously mouthwatering.

  10. Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious
    11/17/2012 at 5:51 pm #

    I have ALWAYS preferred a smaller bird, because it is just so much easier to handle! Easy = good on T-giving. I sometimes buy 2 small birds, cook one for Tgiving day, and then the other one a few days later, when the first one is history. When they’re on sale, it’s a great way to feed the family! Love your cajun spice treatment, too. That’s going to be wonderful! The next thing you need to do is try making a 2-hour turkey. I think Vons/Safeway had a pamphlet about it a couple of years ago, and it is basically done at high heat, for a short time, unstuffed. It’s like a big, honkin’ roast chicken, and it was a delicious way to do it! I will have to see if I can find a link for you.

  11. Average Betty
    11/18/2012 at 10:36 am #

    Thanks a million, Patti! Bigger is definitely better when it comes to families… and there are few things better than turkey sammies made from THE bird :)

    Hi Dorothy, The two-hour turkey is very intriguing! And I love your strategy for more turkey — just for good eatin’. The leftovers of this are on their way into turkey chili :)

    Happy Thanksgiving, ladies!

  12. Peggy
    11/18/2012 at 11:00 am #

    We usually end up making two birds anyway! The fun of Thanksgiving is all the leftovers, right?! This bird sounds super tasty!

  13. JulieD
    11/18/2012 at 11:18 am #

    I have been to many a family Thanksgivings and the turkey was dry. :( This looks like a great recipe, Sara! I love the idea of a cajun rub!! I’m going to try this!

  14. Danielle @ The Growing Foodie
    11/18/2012 at 8:22 pm #

    That’s a great story – I love family traditions / sayings like those and we have a lot in my family, too! Your turkey sounds so delicious, my boyfriend is wondering if we can save this one at home and eat it after my mom’s turkey :) thanks for sharing…

  15. Food Lover
    11/20/2012 at 10:27 pm #

    It looks absolutely delicious!

  16. Sara O'Donnell
    11/21/2012 at 8:10 am #

    Thank you all so much — Happy Thanksgiving :)

  17. Natasha
    1/2/2013 at 3:21 pm #

    This recipe turned out FABULOUS!! I love that there is not much salt. I added a little brown sugar to the Cajun spice rub so it wouldn’t be too spicy for some of my guests. I also created a liquid that I injected into the turkey which spread the Cajun flavor throughout every bite (melted butter, beer, honey, Cajun spice rub, and a little liquid crab boil. Mixed together and then injected into the meat throughout the bird. I did this BEFORE coating the rub on the outside)

  18. Average Betty
    1/2/2013 at 10:17 pm #

    WooHoo! So happy to hear it, Natasha! And I love all the detail and tips you’ve provided — Thank you!!


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